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local time at different places


The need for time zones around the Earth comes from the fact that the Earth rotates once approximately every 24 hours, and so at any instant every place on Earth has a different view of the Sun. When it is midday in one place, it has to be midnight halfway around the world from there.


Here’s a sketch of the Earth looking DOWN on the northern hemisphere from space. The Sun is shining up from the bottom of the picture.


We say that it is 12 noon, or 12 o’clock midday, when the Sun is at its highest in the sky. In this diagram the Sun will appear at its highest from point (C) on the Earth and so it is 12 o’clock midday at point (C)


At the same instant, point (D), which is further west on the Earth, still sees the Sun climbing higher in the sky. Viewed from point (E) there are still a few hours to go before midday. It is mid-morning at point (D).


At point (B), a more easterly point than (C), the Sun has already passed its highest position in the sky. It is the middle of the afternoon at point (B).




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